“A DREAM is a WISH your heart makes when you're fast asleep. In dreams you will lose your heartaches. Whatever you wish for, you keep. Have faith in your dreams, and someday, your rainbow will come smiling through. No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.”— Cinderella
Without a doubt, Disney World is the most magical place on earth. in fact that is their official slogan. What if I told you that under the Disney umbrella was something called the Vacationeer and a whole slew of travel agents that take your wildest dreams and bring them to life...would you believe me?
WELL...We are lucky to know one of these fairy godmothers and her name just so happens to be Nicole Stapleton!
If Nicole looks familiar, it's because you've probably seen her grace my Instagram feed. Nicole is a good friend and former model, AND she is also a Disney Vacation Planner/Travel Agent!
However, just because she works for Disney, don't let that fool you. Nicole can book any vacation of your dreams anywhere around the world if you just ask her. She waves her magic wand and says Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo because your dream vacation is her top priority! That's part of that whole fairy magic thing she does!! Which is why I asked her about all things Disney and vacation!
Fasten your seat belts and keeps your hands and feet inside the ride at all times.....
HERE WE GO!
How did you get into travel? What first sparked your travel bug?
I have always traveled a fair amount with my family. My grandparents and parents instilled in my brain the desire to get out and explore new places. Once I started modeling at 15, I was thrown into adapting to new things and traveling pretty quickly. I moved to New York when I was 17 and promptly did stints in London, Australia, and New Zealand, then later Paris!
Nicole modeling for David Peck Bridal
How many countries have you visited?
What place was your favorite and why?
This is so incredibly hard to choose. Switzerland is probably my most favorite. Italy, Thailand, Indonesia, Holland, and Turkey are also extremely high on my list!
How did you begin your career as a Vacationeer?
I was looking for something I am passionate about that I could transition to after modeling! I found the Vacationeer because I have a deep-rooted passion for Disney World, and I found them a top-ranked Disney Agency online. I quickly messaged the owner and was brought in during the pandemic to begin training and to get certified!
While we can plan all types of vacations near and far, our specialty is all things Disney, Universal Studios, and Cruises. Our job is to take the stress out of the process of planning a trip (And lord knows Disney trips and cruises are not easy to plan). When we plan a trip for someone, it is completely free to the client. We get paid by Disney to make sure the trip goes off without a hitch. Our job is to keep up with all the new protocols, reservation deadlines and make sure our clients get the best rates for their trips!
How does someone book with you?
Anyone looking to plan a trip needs only to message, call or email me to get free pricing information. I gather details like the number of people going, ages, budget, dates, and desires about their trip. Then I get to plugging away to find the client precisely what they are looking for. I also give out tons of advice for newbies on what I would do in their scenario!
What are the perks of booking through you?
Peace of mind, stress-less vacations
Never miss a payment deadline.
Knowledge of current COVID travel guidelines by area...
I am up early for my clients (4:45 am) on park and secure dining reservation dates to snag precisely what they want. I inform clients of the different types of tickets available. They can be assured that when they take off for their trip, no detail has been overlooked!
Travel tips and tricks?
I can't give away all my secrets for free now, can I? However, I will say, if you plan to start a trip off right, never fly American Airlines lol (that's a story for another time)...
Can you work with all budgets?
Yes! Obviously, a few people have come to me with unreasonable budgets for where they want to go. But for the most part, people aren't far off from the actual cost! I've planned a short stay for $1000 all the way to a budget of $50k. It all depends on where you are going and what you want to do! No question is a stupid one, in my opinion.
Which holiday destinations are popular this time of the year?
Right now, it's Caribbean and stateside travel until the world fully reopens from the covid closure... Disney World, Bahamas, Mexico. Hawaii is booming like crazy. Currently, there are no rental cars anywhere for Summer there, and people are renting Uhauls to get around.
What is the average time it takes to plan a trip for someone?
Big groups? Several hours. Small group? Maybe an hour or so, depending on destination. If the client knows exactly where and what they want, it flies by so fast. If they are unsure, then it could take a while to get to their happy place.
How has COVID affected the travel market?
It completely halted it....but now we are in the middle of a crazy travel boom. Sometimes, I don't get sleep because I am trying to help so many people create trips who have been cooped up for so long due to Covid!
Is there any word about Europe opening up for travel?
Yes! Not all these are European, but Greece, Croatia, Iceland, Italy, Georgia, Turkey, Dubai, and Estonia are already open, with France aiming to open mid-June! Most of the rest of Europe is going to be opening to US travelers later this summer. Bora Bora and the Maldives are also open to travelers! :)
Why is it best to hire a travel agent?
Agents will work their hardest to get the best prices and think about the things you may not. Affluent travelers know the ins and outs of what it takes to create a trip and make it flow seamlessly. My goal is to pass that knowledge onto my clients so that they don't show up without the proper documents or without the right reservations. Maybe I will have an idea that my client had never thought of before about a place they are going OR about a way of finding a good deal!
Tell us about Disney. What should we know?
Oh man, how long do you have? LOL!
Basic info: we recommend booking Disneyland or Disneyworld at least 3-4 months in advance to get a park reservation!
For fun info: Did you know there is a private cub at Disney called Club33 that costs over $33k to join and $15k a year to be a member?? They have access to Walt Disney's private bar and lounges hidden in all Disney parks and special perks and privileges. It is so secretive, in fact, and so few people get in that there is very little public knowledge about the private club!
The Walt Disney Company mission is to entertain, inform, and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make it the world's premier entertainment company.
RUN, DON'T WALK TO BOOK YOUR NEXT VACATION WITH NICOLE!